Paradise Lost Believe In Nothing

Album Review: Paradise Lost – Believe In Nothing Remixed/Remastered Re-Release

Believe In Nothing was one of those rare albums which managed to be a disappointment and also be underrated at the same time. When it was originally released in 2001 I don’t think anyone was happy with it. Paradise Lost fans either wanted the band to return to their goth metal roots or take the band’s newer electro inspired sound to another level. The record label wanted them to become more mainstream. I don’t think the band really knew what they wanted but they weren’t allowed an opinion if the rumours surrounding the album are correct. Having said that, it wasn’t actually a bad album and I think a lot of the criticism surrounding it is unjustified.

With the new remixed and remastered edition, the band aimed to bring the album closer to their original vision.

Firstly, the album cover. I’ll be blunt, the original cover was awful. I have no idea who chose it or why but I’m so glad it’s gone. The new black version is much better. It’s much more in keeping with the band’s style so bonus marks straight away for fixing it.

On To The Music

This is where it gets complicated.

The first song I ever heard by Paradise Lost was, rather fittingly, Paradise Lost. It was on one of those flexible records you used to get with magazines back in the eighties. If you know what I’m talking about then congratulations, you are officially classed as an old person now. I remember my brother putting it on the turntable and not being able to decide which speed it should be played at. On one speed it was incredibly dark and sludgy. On the fast speed, it sounded like something made by an alien race. As it turned out, we had just experienced our first taste of doom/goth metal and it was the darkest thing we’d ever heard.

Fast forward towards the end of the decade and the band were almost unrecognisable.

With each successive album after Lost Paradise, the band’s sound got ever so slightly lighter. With Draconian Times, they probably reached their pre-electro peak. I still believe it’s a true metal classic and could have launched the band into the big leagues if they’d built on it instead of changing direction.

But change direction they did.

One Second was a huge departure from the sound of Draconian Times. It wasn’t what the fans were expecting at all. But it worked. I know some hardcore Paradise Lost fans turned away from the band after they heard it but they also gained a lot of new fans. For me, it was like listening to a different band, but they’d made another great sounding album.

Then came Host. This was the album that people who liked the early Paradise Lost sound really couldn’t get their heads around. You couldn’t read a review at the time without Depeche Mode being mentioned. It was still a good album but, for many, they’d taken things too far.

Believe In Nothing was touted as a return to an earlier sound. For anyone hoping this would mean a return to a more metal sound, it was a severe disappointment. There is a good album hiding within though, especially the newly remixed edition.

“It’s no secret that we were never entirely happy with the production on this record, despite really liking the songs,” states singer Nick Holmes. “It’s been a long time coming, but we finally found the right moment to go back into the studio with Gomez and play around with it. We hope you all enjoy the remixed version so you can hear how the songs were meant to sound.”

And it does indeed sound better. Listening to it now and forgetting about the original edition and what was going on at the time, it’s actually a pretty fresh sounding album. The Depeche Mode comments could still be made about it but it also has a definite touch of The Cure about it. It’s a brooding album with the occasional lighter moment. It somehow manages to combine goth with an uplifting energy. If Believe In Nothing had been mixed this way originally and released between One Second and Host I don’t think it would have been disliked anywhere near as much as it was.

The band as a whole put in some great performances, with Nick Holmes’ voice sounding especially strong. For a band who were struggling they could certainly still deliver in the studio. The songwriting might not have been the strongest compared to earlier albums but Believe In Nothing still contains more gems within than many bands manage. They’d set the bar so high that it was always going to be hard to hit that level with every release. It’s aged better than Host and sounds more like a Paradise Lost album than Host ever did.

The time the band, along with Jaime Gomez Arellano, spent on remixing and remastering Believe In Nothing wasn’t wasted. They’ve managed to give it a new lease of life and hopefully people can listen to it with fresh ears and judge it for what it is.

Is it the band’s finest work? No. But it’s a solid album the updated version should certainly be a part of any Paradise Lost fan’s collection. There are more than enough strong tracks to outweigh the few fillers. In many ways, it’s probably their most underrated album and deserves to be given another chance.

Rating – 9/10

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